Filipinos urged to unite, denounce violence vs armed groupsBy Matikas Santos
Lieutenant General Emmanuel Bautista, commanding general of the Army, in an interview with editors of the Philippine Daily on Tuesday night October 30. Video by INQUIRER.net’s Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines – In order for there to be peace in the Philippines, the entire Filipino population should be one in denouncing the violence of armed groups, a commanding general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Tuesday night.
Lieutenant General Emmanuel Bautista, commanding general of the Army, said in an interview with editors of the Philippine Daily Inquirer that in order to obtain peace, all sectors of society must come together and express their desire for peace.
“Ordinary citizens, students, businessmen, media, all of us [should] be in unison in telling [armed groups] its about time [to] end armed struggle and there are other ways of solving our problems [and] resolving conflict,” Bautista said.
“There are more humane ways [and we will be] assuring them that they will be heard,” he added.
The government has recently entered into a much lauded peace framework agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), with many sectors of society hopeful that it would pave the way for lasting peace in the war-torn Mindanao region.
Peace negotiations with other armed groups, such as the rebel New People’s Army (NPA), have yet to be resolved.
“Armed struggle is a Jurassic methodology, there are more modern [and] more humane ways of resolving conflict, definitely it’s not armed struggle, we have seen that in the past,” Bautista said.
“Insurgents thrive on popular support, if the popular will is to end armed struggle and all of us [denounce] it, what will be their reason for the insurgency?” he added.
The communist New People’s Army have been waging a decades-long rebellion since it was established in 1969 as the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The MILF, a breakaway group from the Moro National Liberation Front, has been fighting for an independent Islamic state since 1977.
“We are presenting to our people a choice between continued armed struggle and peace. We have been there for more than 40 years, what will we choose? If we chose peace rather than armed struggle then let’s get together as a people, that is the spirit of bayanihan,” Bautista said citing the AFP’s Internal Peace and Security Plan “Bayanihan.”
“We should all work together because the problem is not limited to just the military [and] the problem cannot be solved by the military alone,” he said.